Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure

59 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2013

See all articles by Resul Cesur

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics

Erdal Tekin

Georgia State University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Aydogan Ulker

Deakin University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 1, 2013

Abstract

One of the consequences of rapid economic growth and industrialization in the developing world has been deterioration in environmental conditions and air quality. While air pollution is a serious threat to health in most developing countries, environmental regulations are rare and the determination to address the problem is weak due to ongoing pressures to sustain robust economic growth. Under these constraints, natural gas, as a clean, abundant, and highly-efficient source of energy, has emerged as an increasingly attractive source of fuel, which could address some of these environmental and health challenges faced by these countries without requiring a compromise on their economic development. In this paper, we use the variation across space and time in the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in Turkish provinces using data between 2001 and 2011. Our results indicate that the rate of increase in the use of natural gas has resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of infant mortality in Turkey. In particular, a one percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would cause the infant mortality rate to decline by 4 percent, which could result in 348 infant lives saved in 2011 alone. These results are robust to a large number of specifications. Finally, we utilize supplemental data on total particulate matter and sulfur dioxide to produce direct estimates of the effects of these pollutants on infant mortality using natural gas expansion as an instrument. Our elasticity estimates from the instrumental variable analysis are 1.25 for particulate matter and 0.63 for sulfur dioxide.

Keywords: Infant mortality, air pollution, natural gas, coal, Turkey

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I18, O10, O13, Q48, Q53

Suggested Citation

Cesur, Resul and Tekin, Erdal and Ulker, Aydogan, Air Pollution and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Expansion of Natural Gas Infrastructure (January 1, 2013). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 13-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2212335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2212335

Resul Cesur

University of Connecticut, School of Business - Dept. of Healthcare Economics ( email )

School of Business
2100 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
United States

Erdal Tekin (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

University Plaza
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States
404-651-3968 (Phone)
404-651-4985 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Aydogan Ulker

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, 3216
Australia

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